outside of Ohio State's Kappa Alpha Theta house

Kappa Alpha Theta closed its house for two weeks Sunday after 20 percent of its residential members tested positive for COVID-19. Credit: Max Garrison | Asst. Campus Editor

At least two additional Greek life organizations instructed their members to quarantine following COVID-19 outbreaks in houses — including one house with a 20 percent positivity rate.

According to emails obtained by The Lantern, Kappa Alpha Theta — located on Indianola Avenue — told its members Sunday to find alternate housing for two weeks due to 20 percent of the sorority’s more than 50 residential members testing positive for COVID-19.

“All women who live in the facility are now considered to have high exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 by Columbus Public Health and will need to begin quarantining immediately,” the email states. 

The email says the decision to temporarily close the house came after “extensive” conversations with the university, the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life and Columbus Public Health. University spokesperson Dave Isaacs said in an email the university could not confirm whether it spoke with the Kappa Alpha Theta Facility Board.

According to the email sent to members, Columbus Public Health informed Kappa Alpha Theta that its facility was unable to serve as quarantine and isolation housing. A house staff member confirmed that because the house has communal bathrooms, it could not adequately separate individuals who tested positive for COVID-19.

Kappa Alpha Theta’s national office did not respond to a request for comment at the time of publication.

Alpha Gamma Delta notified its members Wednesday that at least three residential members tested positive for COVID-19. According to emails obtained by The Lantern, the house, located on Indianola Avenue, is under lockdown from noon Friday to Sept. 18.

Outside of Ohio State's Alpha Gamma Delta house

Alpha Gamma Delta placed its house under mandatory quarantine Friday following three members testing positive for COVID-19. Credit: Max Garrison | Asst. Campus Editor

Per the email, residential members had the option to quarantine or isolate in the house or find alternate housing, but those who left the facility would not be allowed entry until after the lockdown ended. Members staying in the house during lockdown are allowed to leave only to get tested for COVID-19.

“Anyone who tests positive, begins to experience symptoms or believes they have been exposed should contact your House Director or Chapter Advisor immediately,” the email reads. “Failure to report positive tests, symptoms or potential exposure could result in university discipline and Alpha Gamma Delta discipline.”

The regional property manager for the Alpha Gamma Delta Fraternity Housing Corporation who oversees Ohio State’s facility declined to comment on the email. The executive director of the Fraternity Housing Corporation did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Outbreaks of COVID-19 in Alpha Gamma Delta and Kappa Alpha Theta follow reported outbreaks in two other Greek organizations. After two members of Pi Beta Phi tested positive for COVID-19 Aug. 25, the organization found alternate housing for members with negative tests and placed the rest of its house under quarantine. Alpha Epsilon Phi also placed its house under quarantine after at least five members tested positive starting Aug. 28.

In an interview with The Lantern Thursday, University President Kristina M. Johnson said that seven fraternity and sorority houses were under mandatory quarantine due to positive COVID-19 tests among members. A university spokesperson said the university would not confirm which organizations to protect members’ health privacy.

According to the email, members of Kappa Alpha Theta were encouraged to return to their permanent residences. Otherwise, the Facility Board would help members find alternate housing, but said members would be responsible for the cost of alternate housing.

Kappa Alpha Theta members who did not test positive for COVID-19 had until 8 p.m. Sunday to retrieve belongings from the house. After 8 p.m. the same day, members with COVID-19 had until 9 p.m. retrieve their belongings. The house is closed until Sept. 13 at 10 a.m.